Top 100 SNES Review: #19 – Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest (1995)

A Platformer That Gives Reason to Replay

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Sydlexia’s Ranking: #19/100
Developer: Rare
My Rating: smooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-starsmooth-star

This has always been a down low favorite game of mine, and it has a lot to do with all the secrets that are so enticing to find. Diddy Kong’s Quest offered the original Xbox Achievements as each level is scattered with hidden DK coins and tokens. I feel like this was the first time that someone considered replay value beyond a stale rerun through the same levels.

DK2 has the usual quirkiness that the game traditionally brings: a little bit of culture, bizarre animal enemies, and adult Kongs that have their own unique angles. Cranky Kong is probably a favorite as he chastises the player for having it so much easier than earlier gamers (arcade and NES era) and breaks the fourth wall a little bit. This always gave the game a boost of flare and made it more rememberable.

As far as the platforming itself, it is top notch. The unique level designs of DK2 are what really make it so enjoyable. The game puts you in an amusement  rollercoaster ride jostling to get in first place, barrel shooting through a briar patch maze, makes you use whirlwinds to your advantage as you get whipped around, and a stressful race against a parrot. There are a cast of animals you can use to get some assistance (a rhino, snake, parrot and spider) and Diddy and Dixie can team up to do some team moves to get to unique places.

The music is also especially well done. David Wise did an exceptional job putting together a soundtrack that fit the environment so well, and there are hundreds of reiterations of it online.

In the first Donkey Kong Country, there are plenty of hidden places, but none of it really matters — there isn’t anything you can really show for it other than extra lives. With DK2, however, the hidden tokens can be used to get entry into the “lost world” levels where the difficulty level is ramped up. This is where you get rewarded for being the gamer that is trying to find all the secrets and get to try the hardest levels the game has to offer. Finding all the tokens allows you  to face a reincarnation of the final boss and get a special ending scene for your efforts.

Not to mention, some of these are especially well hidden. I’ve had this game since the 2nd grade, and I still always miss out on a few of them through each play through. I still get a bit heated about the DK coin that is hidden inside a hidden token area, a double dip of deceit that still tricks me. Going through the levels with a fine-tooth comb is hide and seek of the highest quality and since you actually get a pay off, quite worth it.

Diddy’s Quest combines the best of what the SNES and Rare has to offer: a great platformer, quirky humor and art, great music ,and collectibles that matter. This makes it easily one of my favorite SNES games.

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